Suffolk County Police Officer Raymond Stock emerged from Stony Brook University Hospital Friday to thunderous applause from hundreds of his colleagues — 10 days after being stabbed in the neck and groin during a near fatal confrontation with a Medford man that left the cop struggling for survival just weeks before the expected birth of his first child.
A four-year veteran of the force, Stock went home Friday after spending five days on a ventilator but still struggling with a host of injuries, including paralyzed vocal chords, doctors said.
He was stabbed in the clavicle and groin on Dec. 28 while responding to a report of a man menacing others at the Blue Ridge Condominium Complex in Medford, authorities said.
Suffolk Police Officer Brendon Gallagher, who was stabbed in the chest through his bulletproof vest by the same suspect, pushed Stock in his wheelchair out of the hospital Friday.
Gallagher, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and joined the department less than a year ago, was released from the hospital on Dec. 30.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said the two officers came within inches of losing their lives.
"These officers are absolute heroes," Harrison said at a news conference Friday outside the hospital. "Angels in blue. Phenomenal workers protecting this county."
A parade of more than 200 Suffolk officers, county lawmakers and elected officials lined up outside of the hospital Friday afternoon in the rain, waiting to cheer the two injured officers during the walkout ceremony. A Suffolk police helicopter flew closely overhead just as the black transport van carrying the two officers left the parking lot.
Noel DiGerolamo, president of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, said Stock's recovery "is nothing short of a miracle from what could have been a fatal wound."
Three Sixth Precinct officers, including Stock and Gallagher, responded to a 911 call at the condo complex on Birchwood Road where Enrique Lopez, 56, was reportedly menacing individuals with a fire extinguisher.
The officers entered the home, walked up a flight of stairs and approached Lopez, Harrison said, and "asked him how he was feeling.”
Lopez — who lived in a home operated by a nonprofit for people with disabilities and mental health issues — lunged at the responding officers with a bowie knife as they attempted to retreat for cover.
One of the officers fired four rounds at Lopez, striking him in his upper torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The shooting is being reviewed by State Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
Dr. James Vosswinkel, head of trauma at Stony Brook Medicine, said Gallagher was stabbed through his bulletproof vest close to his heart where the knife went also through the officer's notebook and shirt, hitting a rib.
"That's luck. It's pure luck that Brendon is alive," Vosswinkel said.
Stock, who was stabbed in the base of his neck and groin — just missing the femoral artery — was not as fortunate.
Vosswinkel said Stock is alive today only due to "an ideal chain of events" that included the fast action of his fellow officers, EMTs and hospital staff who saved the officer's life despite massive blood loss.
After spending five days on a ventilator and suffering vascular and lymphatic system injuries, as well as paralysis of his vocal chords, Stock was healthy enough to go home Friday with his wife, who is 31 weeks pregnant, Vosswinkel said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone also attended Stock's release.
"When they put that uniform on and they walk out the door and leave their family, they do not know what they will face," he said. "These officers did not know that they would be responding to a call where they would be stabbed and attacked multiple times and hospitalized with potentially life-threatening injuries. But that's what they do. They put that uniform on each and every day for one reason and one reason only: to keep all of us safe."
CORRECTION: The name of Dr. James Vosswinkel, head of trauma at Stony Brook Medicine, was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. The name of Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison also was incorrect.